As a female Pangolin, I am not noticeably different from the male, the main difference is my smaller build. If you happen to come across me you may spot my child tagging along on my tail, which one would not find a male doing. We are overly protective with our pups, as they are even more defenceless than we are and have a higher chance of being preyed on.
Just as it is with almost all species, females are primarily designed to produce young and care for them. They reach sexual maturity at 2 years old and begin mating. This usually happens once a year, where only one baby is born. The pangolin has been seen giving birth while laying on her side, pushing the baby out from an opening at the centre of her body. Once the baby is born, the mother nurses him/her in a nesting burrow. Pangolins tend to roll up into a ball when they feel threatened, exposing only their scales. In the same way, a mother will roll around her baby when sleeping, this keeps the baby safe in the centre where it cannot be harmed. Her scales are hard enough to protect her from a lion’s bite. In a YouTube video posted by ‘Wild Life Protection Solutions’ [Sep 3. 2019] a lion is filmed biting into a rolled-up pangolin, no matter how hard the lion tries it simply cannot eat this mammal due to his/her tough scales.
Pangolins play an important role in our biosphere. As pointed out, they have a huge appetite which controls the insect population. Each mammal eats roughly 73 million insects per year, this has a tremendous impact on our society. They also churn the soil when digging up insects, this spreads the nutrients. In both cases, our survival is directly affected as we buy the crop harvested on those very grounds. Whether we as humans pay mind to them or not, we need them more than we realise. Wild and Free Foundation believes that as people, we should all be concerned about these precious lives and protect them if provided with an opportunity to.
Wild and Free Foundation (WFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the USA. WFF is registered as a section 18A public benefit organization (PBO) in South Africa. USA EIN #47-2266595 SA PBO #930061358